Interaction Reading Reflection

How would you define physical interaction?

I think physical interaction is the user being able to affect things in the physical world around them. If you can touch it, you can interact with it.

What makes for good physical interaction?

Crawford mentions that there are degrees to interactivity. Pretty much anything out there, whether man made or in nature, has potential for interaction. An example, you can pick up a rock with your hand or open a door by pushing it. Yeah you are physically interacting with this item but this process is not very interesting. Now things like video games and cars are things that are highly interactive. There is conversation between the user and the object with these two examples. In a manual vehicle the user has to read the cars gauges and the physical world around them in order to use correct inputs (gas, break, steering and shifting gears). If the user does not do this, the car will not go where desired.The user talks to the car by using the pedals and steering wheel, the car listens to those inputs, thinks about what they mean and talks back to the driver by displaying information on the dashboard and of course moving in a direction. Then again, the driver listens to what the car is saying, thinks about it and then tells the car what to do next. This is an ongoing process that loops between the car and the drier until the driver has arrived at his destination or makes an error leading to a crash.

What are some unusual examples of computing/technology that you would say are, or are not, interactive?

After reading the rant I think that our touch screen devices are pretty low on the interactivity scale. I would even argue that my fridge is above my iPhone on that scale. I can do a lot with my phone, sure, but I can only use it with the tip of my fingers or thumbs, and my eyes.  The only feedback my phone gives me is the changing colors of the pixels on the screen which I have to stare at with my eyes.When I open my fridge, I use my entire hand to grip the handle and use my eyes to help guide me. Once the fridge is open there are many possible actions for me to do. I can use my eyes to look for what I want to eat next, I can use my nose to smell the foods, I can use my touch to feel the texture of different foods, and once I have chosen a food/snack I can taste it. Those senses can be very important in telling you if your food has gone bad or not. If I pick up a banana and feel that it is very squishy, there is no chance I will eat it, regardless of what it looks or smell like.

Do you agree with Crawford’s analysis of why interactivity is not easy to achieve? Why or why not? Can you find other sources that support or oppose his analysis?

I think that as long as you really understand what interaction is and you think about what the user of you design can do with it, designing interaction cannot be all that hard. But I guess I’ll find out in the future if this is the case and If I can design anything that is considered interactive.


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